Category Archives: rhode island

Deep Fried Calzones

If you love food and think about it a lot (as I do), you’ve probably thought back to your early food memories. Those times you tried something different, something that imprinted you because you loved or hated it.

I grew up eating a lot of great food, but for some reason one of my strongest first food memories is a deep fried calzone. I was probably about eight years old, and my parents and I were sitting in New York City at a tiny outdoor table in front of Sal’s Pizza, off the Bowery. I remember how crispy the crust was and how the cheese oozed out as soon as I cut in. I remember how hot it was, and yet how I couldn’t stop eating.

Lucky for me, my husband discovered a delicious source of fried (and non-fried) calzones in Rhode Island – Napolitano’s Brooklyn Pizza. It’s a small but welcoming BYOB pizza place with calzones that definitely rival the ones I had in New York. The calzones are made to order and are totally delicious.

Garlic Knots
Garlic knots – fried knots of dough with plenty of fresh garlic, parsley, and coarse salt. I could imagine coming just for these, they are so good.

Deep Fried Calzone
 
A classic deep-fried calzone filled with mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and prosciutto. These are HUGE! You can also get the other calzones fried – I also recommend the spinach calzone, the one we had was stuffed with tons of whole-leaf baby spinach.

Napolitano’s Brooklyn Pizza
100 East Street, Cranston, RI (map)

German Food & Beverage Tasting

Last weekend we attended the “Taste of Germany” food tasting / art show at the German American Cultural Society of Rhode Island.  The GACS, which is in a residential neighborhood in Pawtucket, has a picturesque mirrored ballroom perfect for special events.  (I’ll let you in on a secret – their cozy basement bar, the Ratskeller, is open on Friday nights from 7pm and is a great place for shockingly affordable German food and draft beers. The selection varies, but some of the beers I’ve had on draft include Kulmbacher Pils, Franziskaner Hefe-weisse, Spaten Lager, Aventinus Dunkel, to name a few.)

This was the first time they’ve held a tasting, and it was a huge hit, so hopefully it’ll happen again next year. I really appreciated the choice of uncommon and interesting foods.  The dishes represented 16 different regions of Germany.

I brought my camera and snapped photos of my favorites:

Eier in grüne soße (eggs in green sauce) from Hesse. The green sauce is bursting with fresh herbs.
Eier in grüne soße

Harzer Kase mit Musik – this marinated cheese is an acquired taste (one that I’ve acquired and my husband hasn’t). It’s really strong and pungent. Some people say the “music” that accompany the cheese comes a bit later, if you know what I mean (I hope you didn’t think my blog was too classy for fart jokes!)
Harzer Käse mit Musik

Bread soup – doesn’t sound like anything special, but it was absolutely delicious!
Bread Soup

Some of the other dishes included three other soups (potato/shrimp, white bean, green bean), potato salad, pretzels with obatzda (a cheese spread- also a favorite of mine), Spreewald style sweet pickles, herring dip, quark spread with pumpernickel, plum cake (my contribution), and stollen.  A large beer and wine selection accompanied all of this food – we had a couple of German beers on draft and toasted with a glass of Heinz Eifel Eiswein.

You can view the rest of my photos from the tasting on Flickr.

Block Island

After almost 9 years of living in Rhode Island, I finally made it to Block Island.  We took an early ferry over on Sunday with our bikes.  The ferry tickets were a surprise gift for surviving the GRE exam on Saturday – I have an amazing husband!

The Taste of Block Island promotion was on, and we benefited with 2-for-1 lobster rolls at the Poor People’s Pub and a giant sundae at Aldo’s Bakery.

2 Lobster Rolls

The lobster rolls were great- we shared one warm with butter, one cold with mayo.  The spicy fried oysters, which were enormous, were also a must-have.   Ice cream is a great way to recover from biking all the hills.  I chose rum raisin and maple walnut topped with the usual, plus raisinettes.

Spicy Fried Oysters Ice Cream Sundae

Between the Dramamine (which I probably didn’t need) and the bike riding, I was exhausted and asleep embarrassingly early.   But I was dreaming about the beautiful shores and beach-rose scented sea air…

The Whiskey Republic

The Whiskey Republic is a new addition to Providence’s bar roster.  Opened by Ken Casey, bass player and vocalist for the Dropkick Murphys, the bar “blends Irish roots with rock and roll style.”  I’ve had a soft spot for the band ever since I was lucky enough to catch them at a tiny American Legion hall in New Jersey twelve years ago – it was one of the most energetic shows I’ve seen.

Bar Food

We finally made it to The Whiskey Republic for a beer and a bite. The menu can best be described as creative bar food.  Instead of the usual buffalo sauce, their wings have a BBQ whiskey sauce.  I had a flavorful pulled pork sandwich with a spicy cumin  kick, and  J tried the chicken schnitzel sandwich, which was topped with a sunny side up egg.   Tasty food, nice water views, and of course a great playlist.

Kitchen Nightmares

After a long break from blogging, I feel like I have so much to say, and I want to say it in more than 140 characters (sorry, Twitter).

Us on Kitchen Nightmares
In the photo above, my husband and I are the ones with our heads turned.

Our episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired last week – we were diners on the show at DownCity in Providence.   Filming was a fun experience.  We dined on re-opening night, so we didn’t experience quite as much drama as diners on earlier nights.  

You can watch the episode on Hulu – most of our footage was about 37 minutes in.

We celebrated the airing last Friday with a little viewing party. A few of us brought food inspired by DownCity’s menu – we chose to recreate the truffled goat cheese dip, probably my favorite dish of the night.  Ours was tasty too but sadly lacked the homemade potato chips for dipping.

My interview with Abby (the co-owner of DownCity) can be found in the latest Providence Monthly.

End of Summer

Fall is my favorite season, but the end of summer still fills me with regret for all my unrealized summer plans.   Like taking the Newport ferry, which will no longer set sail next year.  Or renting bikes on Block Island – I’ve still never been.  But sometimes you can take a bit of summer with you into the fall, like we did one night at Iggy’s in Warwick.  The line was shorter but the food, and the walk along the beach, were just as good.

Iggy’s in Warwick

We compensated for the summer’s lack of fried seafood by ordering in overabundance – chowder, clamcakes, calimari, fried clams, seafood platters…

Food for Thought Giveaway

This year’s Food For Thought is coming up on September 25th, and it’s going to be RI’s largest food & wine pairing, showcasing some great local restaurants and vineyards.

Want to go?  The first person to comment here (who is able to attend on the 25th) will get on the guest list for the event.  If you’re not quick enough, you can buy tickets online at http://foodforthoughtri.org.

fft2008logo.jpg

If you want to see my post on last year’s event, it’s here.

Wings from Hell

As a 10-year-old tomboy, I always rose to the dare of eating something spicy. I’d chomp a hot pepper and try to convince everyone that it was nothing, even if the steam circling out of my ears belied my suffering.

I guess that part of me hasn’t died, because last night I went to Providence’s new BBQ joint Rick’s Roadhouse and insisted on finishing their Wings from Hell so I could get my picture on the Wall of Flame.

The waiver we had to sign hinted at how hot the wings would be. And they were HOT. My dining companions were only able to get through one or two, but once I hit four I became one with the pain and made my way through the rest. These weren’t tasty wings for spice lovers – they were a potent weapon slathered with as much capsicum as a wing could hold. Strangely enough, they were so hot that the Beamish Stout we were drinking tasted like pure sugar. I managed to survive, though we canceled our movie plans for the evening so we could all go home, clutch our stomachs and feel sorry for ourselves.

My Place on the Wall of Flame
My Place on the Wall of Flame

This was my second meal at Rick’s. The first as a bit more modest – a shared deluxe barbecue platter. We thought Rick’s was the best barbecue we’ve had in Providence, but I know barbecue is a very subjective and touchy subject, so you should find out for yourselves. A lot of the menu items are a very good value, like the pulled pork sandwich which is just $5.49. They have a bunch of whiskey flights and you can get pitchers of beer (which is a necessary accessory to wash down really hot wings).

If any of you decide to rise to the hot wings challenge, let me know what happens!

Rick’s Roadhouse
Map Marker 370 Richmond St., Providence (in the Jewelry District)

RI’s Secret Gourmet Store

You probably think I’m going to write up some little charming food boutique in a hidden corner of the state. Wrong – it’s a store that you’ve probably already seen. Even more, it’s a chain: Ocean State Job Lot.

Job Lot has been around since the late 70s and sells items unwanted by the manufacturer or stores, like overstocks and overruns. This includes everything from clothing to tools and, as you can guess by my title, food.

Since my first visit a few years ago, the store has become a regular stop in my shopping rotation. Sometimes I pick up staples there, but often I go for the unusual and international products.

My top Job Lot food picks (in no particular order):

1. Teddie Natural Peanut Butter – This natural (non-homogenized, peanut only) peanut butter is delicious and usually around $2 a jar.

2. Gnocchi – Vacuum-packed soft gnocchi are available with or without herbs for only $1. These cook up in minutes and are a tasty alternative to the usual pastas.

3. Israeli Couscous - If you haven’t had Israeli couscous, it’s a larger version of the usual small grains. I’ve seen it in restaurants now and then, but it’s pretty rare – and expensive – in stores. Job Lot’s $1 packages disappear from the shelves fairly quickly.

Danish Garden jam

4. Danish Garden Jams – These jams from Denmark come in a huge blue bucket for only $2. My favorites are the blackcurrant and raspberry. The low-sugar versions don’t have artificial sweeteners, just less sugar, so they are the perfect consistency for stirring into yogurt. Lately we’ve found smaller jars with more exotic flavors, like strawberry mango and orange pineapple with lime and carrot.

5. Dried Figs – catch them in stock and you can get the traditional ring of figs for only $1. If you’re even luckier, you might find luxurious bags of soft miniature mission figs. Also check out other dried fruits like dates and apricots.

It’s hard to stop there. Some of my other Job Lot finds include Apfelschorle, crispbreads and crackers, Lindt truffle bars with flavors like cherry-chili and guava, oh…I could go on and on!

Do you frequent Job Lot? What do you usually buy?

Urban Greens Co-op

Providence has a co-op in its future! Urban Greens, who has been running a buying club for eight years, is going to be opening a cooperative market at 1577 Westminster Street. I’m excited – it’ll be a convenient way to eat local and fresh even if I miss the farmer’s market.

I bought a founding share today. If you’ve been hoping for a market like this, you should too!

http://urbangreens.com/join

Urban Greens Food Co-Op